Since the beginning of the pandemic and in the months that have followed, cases of alcohol and drug overdose are climbing at alarming rates. These spikes have brought about both fatal and non-fatal overdoses, adding to the volume of patients at already-crowded hospitals. And this trend seems to be worsening — cases nationwide jumped 18 percent above 2019 levels in March, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May.
Evidence shows that these numbers are directly connected to the current pandemic, and health officials are working to reduce the amount of overdose. While there is no way to regulate or control people’s behaviors and needs during the pandemic, it’s up to you to understand and identify your risks of addiction and overdose at this time.
Why Is This Happening
Initially, it was predicted that the number of overdose cases would drop. This theory was based on the fact that with borders and cities shut down, the amount of drug traffic would be disrupted. However, the exact opposite has happened — many are seeking new suppliers and using alternative substances.
Drugs attained on the street offer more risk because they are not regulated, meaning they come laced with other drugs or are a more pure cut of the drug, which makes the drug more potent. Because these drugs are not prescribed or regulated by a doctor, many will buy much higher amounts than they need.
Many are left at home and alone during this time. Regular visits with doctors, family, and friends have become reliant on alternative means of communication, such as video calls. This lack of human contact has created a feeling of isolation among many who struggle with addiction.
The loneliness that comes from being disconnected has also been a struggle for those who suffer from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and self-destructive thoughts. Unfortunately, when overdose occurs, there is often no one from their support team nearby to help them or call 911.
Because treatment centers and recovery programs must comply with HIPAA privacy rules, this new protocol has caused a significant change in how they go about providing treatment and maintaining contact with patients. To make things harder, little government funding has come to aid these centers during the crisis.
Only little more than a hundredth of one percent of the $2.5 trillion relief fund has gone toward mental health and substance abuse treatment. Without funding, overdose cases will continue to rise — and many facilities and treatment centers might not recover after the pandemic, which will directly affect patients.
What Can Be Done?
Staying connected goes a long way in helping you feel less alone. Utilizing the many opportunities that are presented online is a great way to connect with friends and family. Create a support system and plan different activities with different people. Maybe you join in on a remote workout session with a friend, have coffee with a family member, or check in daily with someone from your support group to hold each other accountable.
These interactions should be designed to keep you motivated to get through the day. Having a support buddy could also lend relief so that when times become hard, they are only a phone call away. Likewise, being a pillar of support will add leadership and a sense of purpose to your day, because you might have to be strong for somebody else. When you continue to interact with people, you greatly reduce the risk of feeling bored, anxious or depressed.
Many are responding well since the integration of Telehealth has become the current norm. This forum offers you the treatment you need from the comfort of your own home. Not only is it a more convenient way to seek help — no travel, no waiting — but it is proving to be just as effective as in-person appointments.
This form of treatment is founded on the premise of meeting you where you are, and therefore the care and the options for alternatives are designed with you in mind. For overdose prevention, Telehealth offers on-demand access to caregivers which means that patients have 24/7 service.
You do not need to worry about scheduling, traveling, or any stigmas that may surround in-person meetings. Telehealth might be most beneficial if you live in a rural area, because now you have access to the same care options as those who live in large cities.
The efforts you make in your recovery are meant to help you understand, engage, and manage your emotions instead of disengaging and turning back to substance abuse. Sitting with your feelings, writing down how you feel, and talking with a therapist or friend about how you feel will help you better understand yourself.
When you are in touch with your feelings, you will begin to see patterns within your thinking and therefore be better educated when you begin to treat how you feel. Likewise, you will also be able to see when you feel your best — confident and in control — and what activities you are doing that help you feel this way. Understand that your recovery comes first, and to sustain a meaningful and lasting recovery, you will need to understand your emotions.
The world is currently living with so much uncertainty, and because of this everybody has had to adjust. These adjustments involve a great amount of sacrifice, which might have you feeling overwhelmed. These feelings of uncertainty will create feelings of doubt, which can lead to actions that are unhealthy. As soon as you begin feeling the first seed of doubt, it’s important to act and seek help.Overdose on The Rise
Despite many treatment centers and programs faltering, True Recovery remains on stable ground and we continue to reach patients and offer them the care they need. Recovery is about reinvention and True Recovery has seen an opportunity where many others have expressed doubt. We continue to offer 24/7 support and provide alternative treatments via Telehealth, inpatient, and outpatient care. We are determined to meet the needs of each patient, including you. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.